IBM Corp. plans to combine its storage and server divisions early next year, and will shift storage head Linda Sanford to lead the on-demand computing initiatives that CEO Sam Palmisano recently outlined. IBM’s Server Group and Storage Systems Group will be merged as of Jan. 1, operating as one organization under the direction of Bill Zeitler, currently senior vice president of the server group. On-demand computing will be IBM’s focus, Palmisano said in his recent talk, describing a vision of IT infrastructure incorporating technology from an array of product areas aimed at maximizing businesses’ flexibility and responsiveness.

Cisco offers Ethernet switch upgrade

Cisco Systems Inc. this month announced the Cisco Catalyst 2950 Long-Reach Ethernet Switch to provide network-wide intelligence such as quality of service, network availability and network security over existing telephone lines for small and midsize businesses and multitenant buildings. Long-Reach Ethernet switching has been available for 18 months, providing bandwidth of 2Mbps to 15Mbps over existing copper wiring for up to 5,000 feet. The new 2950 adds Layer 3 and 4 network intelligence features. Pricing for an eight-port switch is US$1,895 and for a 24-port switch is US$4,495. Both are scheduled to become available next month.

Brocade sings a Rhapsody

Fibre Channel switch vendor Brocade Communications Systems Inc. said this month that it would acquire startup Rhapsody Networks Inc. for US$175 million. Rhapsody, while not having announced any products yet, is known to be making director-level switches that will host applications such as virtualization and replication software. Brocade will integrate Rhapsody’s applications-based multiprotocol director-level switching technology into its corporate storage products. Brocade leads the market in entry- and midlevel fabric switches, but trails McData Corp. and InRange Technologies Corp. in the director-level area, according to IDC. A year ago, Brocade announced a 128-port director-level switch of its own, which it shipped earlier this year and positions in this high-end market.

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